Many aspects of box turtle development may depend on size rather than age. Notable examples include sexual maturity and the development of the fully closing hinge in the shell that allows box turtles to completely hide in their shells. Thus, it is important to understand how turtles grow in order to have a complete understanding of turtle biology. Previous studies show that turtle shell growth behaves in a logistic manner. These studies use functional models that fit the data well but do little to explain mechanisms. In this work we use the ideas found in dynamic energy budget theory to build a model of box turtle shell growth. We show this model fits the data as well as previous models for ornate box turtles Terrapene ornata ornata, but also offers explanations for observed phenomena, such as maximum sizes and the appearance of biphasic growth.



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